Adjusting your position on the court after hitting a shot can be more important than running after your opponent's reply.
First, move towards the open part of the court which is where most players will hit the next shot. In addition, if you hit your shot well, take a couple of steps forward. In contrast, if you hit it poorly, take a step or two back. These subtle movements before your opponent hits the ball can save you multiple steps when chasing down the next ball.
There may be some situations when it is difficult to anticipate the reply from your opponent. This happens especially when your shot is not hit well. If you are in big trouble, pick one side of the court and cover that side. A good play is to move to one side well before your opponent hits the ball, and then be ready to take off towards the other side of the court as your opponent is hitting their shot.
One thing that does not usually work is to stand in the middle of the court and then wait for your opponent to hit the ball to try and run it down. Use your footwork after you hit a shot, and before your opponent hits their shot, to make it tough for the other player to hit the ball past you.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (http://www.annaconetennis.com) MyHamptonsPro (http://www. myhamptonspro.com) and Baron’s Cove Resort In Sag Harbor, NY, as well as Volunteer Assistant Coach for the University of Arizona Women’s team. For details on lessons, clinics, or coaching, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 865-300-7323